Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Big Lie

I thought this was an interesting combination of columns that happened to be published today.  Thomas Sowell, in a column titled, "Big Lies in Politics" points out that the media and left-wing politicians push a lie when they discuss income inequality and talk about the "rich".

All sorts of statements are made in politics and in the media as if that "top one percent" is an enduring class of people, rather than an ever-changing collection of individuals who have a spike in their income in a particular year, for one reason or another. Turnover in other income brackets is also substantial.

There is nothing mysterious about this. Most people start out at the bottom, in entry-level jobs, and their incomes rise over time as they acquire more skills and experience.

Politicians and media talking heads love to refer to people who are in the bottom 20 percent in income in a given year as "the poor." But, following the same individuals for 10 or 15 years usually shows the great majority of those individuals moving into higher income brackets.

The number who reach all the way to the top 20 percent greatly exceeds the number still stuck in the bottom 20 percent over the years. But such mundane facts cannot compete for attention with the moral melodramas conjured up in politics and the media when they discuss "the rich" and "the poor." There are people who are genuinely rich and genuinely poor, in the sense of having very high or very low incomes for most, if not all, of their lives. But "the rich" and "the poor" in this sense are unlikely to add up to even ten percent of the population.

Ironically, those who make the most noise about income disparities or poverty contribute greatly to policies that promote both.
(my bold)

David Horowitz  has chosen to re-run a book review he wrote back in 1989, "Carl Bernstein’s Communist Problem & Mine".  Given that Obama's life-ling associations with communists, terror bombers, radicals, and revolutionaries is finally getting some public attention, he explains his reason for the re-print:
I thought it might be useful to those first being introduced to what I like to call the “neo-communist left” to read a piece I wrote a few years ago about Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein and his Communist father, and about my own experience in the Communist left as well. It is particularly the disloyalty and fundamental dishonesty of these people, these Communist progressives which I think should most interest readers in the context of the political and economic crises we are facing today.
(my bold)

Horowitz' books, particularly "Radical Son" and "Destructive Generation" give us a good understanding of the extent to which communists were (and are) a real presence in so many of America's organizations and institutions.  In this column, he focuses on the extent to which the communists who worked as agents for Stalin still lie to the public and even themselves about what they did and why.
Ann and my parents belonged to a colony of Jewish Communists who, in the early Forties, had settled in a 10-block neighborhood of working-class Catholics in Sunnyside, Queens. The members of this colony lived two lives. Outwardly they were middle class: scrupulous in their respect for the mores of the community and unfailing in their obedience to its civil laws. They always identified themselves publicly as “progressives,” espousing views that were liberal and democratic. They thought of themselves (and were perceived by others) as “socially conscious” and “idealistic” and were active in trade unions and civil-rights groups and in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
The picture is consistent with that myth now struggling to be born in our literary culture that these people were small “c” communists whose belief in democratic values outweighed their commitment to big “C” Communism. But this is a myth, with malevolent implications. In fact, the members of this colony like Ann and my parents also inhabited another, secret world as soldiers in the Third International founded by Lenin. In their eyes, a sixth of humanity had entered an entirely new stage of history in Soviet Russia in 1917, a triumphant humanity that would be extended all over the world by the actions of the vanguard they had joined. The world of liberal and progressive politics may have been the world in which outsiders saw them, but their secret membership in this revolutionary army was the world that really mattered to Ann and my parents and to all their political friends. It was the world that gave real significance and meaning to what otherwise were modest and rather ordinary lives.
In their own minds, Ann and my parents were secret agents.

The big lie?
 What are the tenets of the neo-Stalinist faith that has so unexpectedly resurfaced in American letters? Basically there are two. The first – that Communists were peace-loving, do-gooding, civil-rights activists and American patriots; the second – that they were the innocent victims of a fascist America.

Horowitz lays out the facts.  And they are damning.  In the end:

 Loyalties reveals the secret of how the progressive left aims to be born again – by erasing the embarrassment of its disreputable past; by hiding the shame of having supported Stalin and Mao and Fidel and Ho and all the terrible purges, murders, and other despicable means that finally served no beneficial ends. The ultimate embarrassment is of having been so stubbornly and perversely on the wrong side of history; of having embraced “solutions” that were morally and politically and economically bankrupt in the great struggles of our time.

No comments:

Post a Comment